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Dolce & Gabbana Revisiting Fragrance Roots

The designers will reintroduce the original men’s eau de toilette and unveil a brand new women’s eau de parfum.

The Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme ad visual with Laetitia Casta, photographed by Mario Testino.

MILAN — Trumpeting Italian beauty and the charm of the South, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are bringing back a taste of the Nineties, when their first classic fragrances were born.

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In 1992, the designers unveiled Dolce & Gabbana, a women’s eau de parfum, and in 1994 Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme. This year, both fragrances will make a comeback, as the designers reintroduce the original men’s eau de toilette and unveil a brand new women’s edp.

“It’s not so much a reedition as it is a fine-tuning,” said Gabbana. “We altered the bottles a bit.…There has been an evolution [of the brand] since the Nineties, Domenico and I were much younger then — we’ve really matured a lot.”

Alluding to the fashion house’s existing fragrance “pillars,” Light Blue and The One, Luigi Feola, vice president of Proctor & Gamble Prestige, said the idea was “to create a third line that is dual gender and goes back to the roots of the brand — modern but strongly linked to heritage.” P&G has had the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance and cosmetics license since 2006.

“Different consumers will be attracted to different angles, but it all starts with having a product that is intrinsically linked to the Dolce & Gabbana brand,” Feola said, adding that the fragrance targets a “really broad age group” internationally.

Industry sources estimate first-year sales could reach a target of upward of $200 million wholesale. Without commenting on the estimates, Feola said there is “very strong momentum on Dolce & Gabbana,” which has been one of P&G’s strongest labels in the first half of 2012. “We want [the new fragrance line] to be a pillar over time,” he noted.

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme starts off with neroli tinged with raspberry and tangerine, leading to a heart of jasmine and orange blossom, over a sweet drydown of marshmallow, vanilla, heliotrope and cream sandalwood. The original men’s scent, dry and floral, opens with neroli and citrus, giving way to tangerine, bergamot and lavender with touches of sage and pepper, with a base that includes tobacco, cedarwood and tonka beans. In developing the fragrance, the P&G Prestige fragrance design team worked in close collaboration with fragrance supplier Mane to bring the designers’ vision to life.

The packaging design, too, received a makeover. The new Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme comes in a velvety crimson box with a gold base and lettering, with a clear, angular bottle topped with a crimson cap and gold base, while the Pour Homme fragrance comes in a velvety blue box with silver lettering, and a rounded bottle with a large blue and silver cap.

Both a print advertising campaign and television commercial, shot by Mario Testino in mountainous Erice, Sicily, are central to the marketing plan for the fragrances. In the sexually charged sequences, shapely French model and actress Laetitia Casta and chiseled American model and actor Noah Mills — the latter a regular on the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk and in the brand’s campaigns — are shown eyeing each other at a small-town wedding, cavorting through charming old streets and riding a flashy convertible past stunning seaside vistas, all to the tune of “La città,” by Mina Mazzini, darling of Sixties Italian pop.

“We wanted to do something in the South,” said Gabbana. “We had never shot anything in that particular area, but the rocks, the crumbling walls and the old town of Erice were perfect.”

Distribution will be kicked off in the U.K. in July and will extend to all worldwide markets by September, with the exception of China, where it will arrive later. The ad campaign will go on air as the products arrive in select stores and licensed perfumeries.

“We’re expecting very strong growth,” said Feola, noting that while the U.S. and Western Europe are the brand’s strongholds, Russia, the Middle East and Latin America are important emerging markets, and the fragrances should attract new consumers to the prestige category. Travel retail is another hot sector Dolce & Gabbana is tapping into.

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme comes in three sizes. In the U.S., the 0.85-oz. version will sell for $66, the 1.7-oz. version for $77 and the 3.4-oz. bottle for $98, while in Europe, prices are set at 56, 79 and 99 euros. A 6.7-oz. body lotion will sell for $48, or 37 euros, and a 6.7-oz. shower gel for $39, or 35 euros.

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme is also available in three sizes. In the U.S., the 1.35-oz. bottle will cost $45, the 2.5-oz. version will sell for $58, and the 4.2-oz. version, $73. In Europe, prices are set respectively at 45, 59 and 79 euros. A 4.2-oz. aftershave lotion ($48), a 6.7-oz. shower gel ($33), a 3.4-oz. aftershave balm ($52) and a deodorant stick ($26) will be available in Europe for 56, 26, 41 and 26 euros, respectively.